The lanes set aside for the long-awaited Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system will be closed from Friday morning and motorists using them will be fined, warned Johannesburg metro police.

This is in line with preparations for the end-August launch of Johannesburg’s new public transport system.

Starting from Chris Hani Road at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto’s Orlando, the lanes will be closed, said metro police spokeswoman Edna Mamonyane.

The closures will affect Klipspruit Valley Road, the Soweto Highway, Pat Mbatha Road, Ntemi Piliso Road in Newtown, Market Street in the Central Business District, and Ellis Park, in the east of the city.

The buses would not be running yet, said Mamonyane, but the closures would give motorists a chance to get used to the new road configuration, so that they cannot say they were caught off guard when the buses start running.

Officials will be dotted along the route to tell people not to use the lanes, and anyone caught in the lanes will be fined.

The BRT is expected to start running on August 30, with a day of free bus rides promised for its launch, according to the city’s mayor Amos Masondo.

The city would also hold an information session at the Nasrec exhibition centre this weekend to inform the public about what the new public transport system can offer.